The God Delusion: The Anthropic Principle and Complexity

Dawkins should stick to biology. He’s now supporting the multiverse theory to explain why we live in a universe so finally tuned to the needs of life. The idea is that there are many universe, all with different physical properties and we happen to occupy one of those suitable to life.

Problem: the multiverse theory, while pretty, is not scientific. It’s just not. It sounds scientific. It speaks the language and does the dance. But it’s not scientific at all because it is not testable. A lot of evolutionary psychology is unscientific as well by virtue of being untestable.

Well, maybe I just need to have my “consciousness raised” so that I can be an uberman like Dawkins.

He can really come across as arrogant on that account.

Dawkins’ most convincing anti-God argument is the complexity argument — that any God who controls the Universe must be more complex and difficult to explain than the Universe itself.

This is only true if you believe in a God who controls the path of every electron and the fall of every sparrow. However, a God who set the Universe in motions and guides it from time to time is not very complex.

Thinks of it this way. Let’s say I start an avalanche in the mountains. Thousands of boulders crash into the town below. According the Dawkins, a thousand boulders means at least a thousand people throwing them. But it was only one person doing something simple.

Suppose, in the future, we were to figure out how to start evolution on a lifeless planet. Occasionally, we would go in and adjust. Change some genes, wipe out a useless creature, save a good one. It doesn’t even take God to do that. Because comparatively simple acts — starting life, adjusting a gene — become massive complex operations once the machinery of evolution grinds them.

We see complexity growing out of simple process in nature all the time. In fact, the entire fucking universe is the outgrowth of a set of very simple principles. From crystals to nebulae to galaxies of billions of stars to life itself, we see dazzling complexity being guided by very simple, sometimes singular events.

So yes, a God who makes sure that the gravitational constant is always the same is too complex. But a God who laid down the laws of the Universe and set them in motion does not have to be very complex at all.

The apotheosis of this line of reasoning is Dawkins’ argument against prayer, in which he says that God hearing our prayers would require he be the most sophisticated computer ever built. This is a *slight* exaggeration in the age of the internet and Moore’s Law. But is also assumes that God and humanity are two different things. The entire idea of an immortal soul is that it is a piece of the divine within our flesh. I don’t need a sophisticated computer to sort and interpret the millions of signals I am receiving from my body every day. My brain is sufficient to take care of that, without my higher brain functions even being aware of it.

I’m not advocating a religious view here. I’m just saying that Dawkins, like most dogmatic atheists, fails to understand that there are ways of thinking about God that are different from the fundamentalist garbage. Ways that incorporate science. A simple God who creates a Universe on simple principles. He evolves with it, growing more complex. His own divine spark begins to grow in the form of evolving life.

There are other ways to think. Other ways to go. Yes, it is time for us to put away some of our myths and legends. But it’s not yet time, if it will ever be, to assume that we know everything. That there is nothing beyond the physical world. We just don’t know that much yet. Maybe, we never will.

Comments are closed.